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Postscript to the enduring freedom of the Standard Bearer

Postscript to the enduring freedom of the Standard Bearer

This series is written by Joshua Hoekstra, current RFPA board president.


    I enjoyed writing this short blog series, and I hope you enjoyed reading it.

    I must say a few things in closing though.

    Thanks. I’ve said thanks to you, the reader, but this word of thanks goes to a previous RFPA board and specifically to four men on that board. This word of thanks is for their wives and families as well. Four men pored through one hundred years of RFPA history and Standard Bearer articles. Four men gave hundreds of hours to study the history of this relationship. An entire board spent months considering and discussing this history. They spent months on this work because it was serious and important work. They did this because they love the RFPA, they love the Standard Bearer, and they love their Christian brothers. When concern was expressed, this board and these men took that concern seriously. They were not dismissive of the concern expressed by their brothers, but rather were thoughtful and careful. These men have a patience and talent that I can only aspire to and admire. I am grateful for their talents, their time, and their work. I am grateful that I can stand on the shoulders of these men.

    The work itself also deserves a short word. The quotes provided in this blog series, and even some of the surrounding language, comes from an eleven-page special report prepared by the four men referenced above. These men were tasked by the board, as a special committee, to look at the historic relationship between the RFPA board and her Standard Bearer. The RFPA board adopted this report. The project was initiated in June 2019. The work began in earnest in October 2019 and concluded in February 2020. The report is supported by twenty-two pages of relevant RFPA board minutes and an additional forty-six pages of relevant Standard Bearer articles, RFPA board letters, and various reports.

    We, the board of the RFPA, labor with the SB staff, together in a spirit of Christian brotherhood and fellowship for the sake of the truth of the gospel. (from board letter to SB staff, March 25, 2015)

    The RFPA constitution is clear: the RFPA will “witness to the truth contained in the word of God and expressed in the Three Forms of Unity” and will “reveal false and deceptive views repugnant thereto.” As the constitution also states, the RFPA will “effectuate” its purpose in this way: she will “publish and distribute a magazine, to be known as the Standard Bearer.” Notice how even here the freedom of the editors is present. The RFPA does not effectuate its purpose by writing or controlling the contents of the magazine but rather by publishing and distributing. May I add as well, the RFPA does this by ensuring that the freedom of the Standard Bearer and her editors will endure.

    The constitution of the RFPA, the history of the RFPA, and the relationship policy sound forth this message in unison: the editors are free, and they have authority over the content of the SB. To consider a request to bind this freedom would be illegal and unconstitutional.

    For the sake of God’s glory and the freedom of his gospel messengers.

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